Woman speaks out after witnessing transgender friend's killing

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One person is dead and another behind bars after a shooting on Charlotte's West Side Tuesday. But friends and family of the victim say there is more to the story.

Jo Banner says she and her 26-year-old grandson had a special bond.

"He loved me and I loved him," she says.

Derrick Banner, who some knew as Derricka, died around 3 a.m. Tuesday in the 1400 block of Rosetta Street.

"He didn't deserve what he got," Jo Banner says. "But he's dead and he's gone. And I loved him. He was my baby."

Banner looks through old photos of her grandson, who identified as a transgender woman.

Another transgender woman, who goes by Tooker, says she was there when the shooting happened. Her last images of her friend were those early hours Tuesday morning.

"Just to see your friend, anyone really, just to see someone die in your face," she says.

Tooker says Banner was meeting the suspect, 18-year-old Montavious Berry, for sex that night. Meanwhile, she was hiding in the trunk – she claims because Berry asked Banner to come alone.

At some point, she heard her friend's voice inside the car.

"I heard him say, 'don't point it at me like that, don't point it at me like that,'" she says. "Seconds after that I heard two gunshots."

Tooker says Banner was able to pop the trunk open, and the suspect was gone. That is when she tried CPR.

"By the time the police got there I just could tell that he wasn't alive," she says.

Tooker believes Berry shot her friend for being transgender, although police say there is no reason to believe that is the case.

"He's a coward, he doesn't know who he is," Tooker says. "He tried something, didn't like it, and couldn't live with it."

As for Jo Banner - she is spending her time sorting through those old photos, filled with memories.

"I loved him," she says. "And I tried to do the best I could by him. And I'm going to miss him a lot."

Berry was arrested Tuesday night. He is charged with murder, armed robbery, and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

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